Extra Bases: Tepesch struggles again

August, 29, 2014
Aug 29
11:00
AM CT
HOUSTON -- Rangers starter Nick Tepesch had a stretch where he allowed three or fewer runs in four consecutive starts.

After Thursday night, Tepesch has given up eight runs in his last two outings. He wasn't the pitcher of record in the 4-2 loss to the Astros, that was reliever Roman Mendez, but Tepesch had some responsibility in the loss.

"He was laboring and he had to trouble from pitch one and in every inning he was in trouble," manager Ron Washington said. "That inning, right there we got to the middle of the order there and just felt like we needed to try and shut that inning down and Mendez just couldn’t get that done."

Tepesch (4.44 ERA in 18 games) had just one lone 1-2-3 inning, the first, and as Washington noted, everything was a struggle. In the decisive fifth inning, he allowed a one-out hit and a one-out walk before Washington yanked him for Mendez, one of his more reliable relief pitchers.

Tepesch watched as Mendez allowed an infield hit then a grand slam to Jason Castro that gave the Astros a 4-2 lead.

"It was long innings, just no clean innings, really," said Tepesch, who threw 89 pitches. "A lot of pitches per inning, it's tough to pitch deep into games when you throw so many pitches."

Tepesch is not a strikeout pitcher, so throwing to contact is part of his success. He didn't have much command on his fastball and couldn't get his breaking pitches down either.

"I think I had pretty decent command I thought for the most part," Tepesch said. "I was missing on the edges a little too much I think that was the biggest thing, a little too edgy maybe."

A review of quirky plays: The Rangers dealt with two quirky plays, one that cost them right fielder Jim Adduci. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Adduci made a sliding catch but hit his head on the field and against the padded wall. Adduci flipped over second baseman Rougned Odor, who was also chasing the foul ball. Washington said Odor is supposed to chase balls in shallow right field that veer toward the stands. Odor backed off at the last minute and while Adduci made the play, he hit the ground hard.

"It happened so fast, I can't even tell you what happened," said Adduci, who was examined by team trainers and is day-to-day. "At least I caught it."

In the next inning, Dexter Fowler hit a slow roller to short, Adrian Beltre moved quickly to the ball before Elvis Andrus could make a play on it. Beltre fielded the ball but couldn't throw out the speedy Fowler. It loaded the bases and Castro hit a grand slam off Mendez to give the Astros a 4-2 lead. The Rangers didn't recover.

Should Beltre have let Andrus make that play?

"It's whoever gets to it first," Andrus said. "You have a fast runner and you have to make the play. Adrian has huge range and he makes that play 1,000 times."

Base Hits: CF Leonys Martin is hitting .444 in his last 15 games and reached base safely in the last 14 starts. ... Beltre is hitting .371 with 11 home runs with 30 RBIs against Houston since 2012. He's hitting .322 at Minute Maid Park. ... The Astros need one more victory against the Rangers to win the Silver Boot. The Astros led the series, 9-4, with six games to play.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.324 19 77 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
WC. Lewis 10
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182